VERN’S VIEW: It’s hard to watch the fear-mongering

Watching television news is getting more difficult. Objectivity is destroyed by pundits from both sides trying to sell air time about candidates who insist on looking and sounding foolish, extremist and cheap. The irony here is they are being bankrolled by corporate America just as I predicted. It is an ugly, vulgar display of disinformation and a throwback to the days of McCarthyism.

McCarthy’s fear-mongering about communists fed the rhetoric of the early Cold War, but even after he was debunked and vilified, the fears remained. Those apprehensions also fed unfounded concepts such as the “Domino Theory” of nations falling to communism.

For example, France wanted to reconstitute its colony in Indo-China after World War II. The French failed because the Vietnamese wanted a sovereign nation instead of lackeys of France. We felt obliged to help our old allies and then became stuck with the mess after the French were defeated on the battlefield and pulled out of Vietnam. We decided that Ho Chi Minh was a communist and must not be allowed to take over his own country.

Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon were each complicit in responding to the domino theory. They were all wrong.  Worse, they didn’t listen to the experts who lived and served in Asia for decades. No, it was all about defeating communism. We had just finished “defeating” communism in Korea and we were determined to defeat it in Vietnam, even if it meant lying to the American people to make it happen.

The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution was Johnson’s contrivance to allow us to enter a ground war in Asia. Once in, it was a tar baby we couldn’t get out of for another 10 years and 58,000 American lives.  This is what fear and lying creates.

As it happened, Ho Chi Minh and his successors, though communists philosophically, were nationalists first. They created a stable, national government and society. Vietnam is now one of our best trading partners. Our fears were unfounded and we looked foolish to the world for following those fears into war. Yes, hindsight is a luxury, but it is also a teacher.

We are now experiencing fear-mongering about Muslims and their religious takeover of our country, a view promoted by Republican politicians who have nothing else to scream about. They are directing this nonsense at our president, who has a most unusual name. That name alone justifies their fear-mongering. Meanwhile, corporate America works hard at stealing the election for their favorite candidate because they are allowed to.

The real fear here is having our democracy hijacked by a profit-motivated plutocracy that cares nothing about anything else, least of all the quality of life for the people of the United States of America.

To be continued….

Turner is a retired teacher and industrial engineer who lives near Marble Falls. He is an independent columnist, not a staff member, and his views do not necessarily reflect those of The Tribune or its parent company. "The Voter’s Guide to National Salvation" is a newly published e-book from Turner. You can find it at He can be reached by email at

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